Goldman Sachs just posted higher than expected quarterly earnings of $3.33 billion – up 65%, year over year – even though they were the recipients of over $10 billion in TARP money (which they were finally ‘allowed’ to pay back).
Goldman Sachs boasts approximately 29,400 employees, and they have announced plans to give $11.4 billion in bonuses to their employees, which averages out to approximately $770,000 per employee – with top executives set to garner millions each. That bonus figure amounts to approximately the kinds of bonuses that Sachs was handing out to its people at the height of the prosperity bubble.
President Obama, shortly after the passage of TARP legislation (brackets are mine):
When I saw an article today indicating that Wall Street bankers had given themselves twenty billion dollars [only a little more than half of what Goldman Sachs alone is now intending to give its employees] worth of bonuses, the same amount of bonuses as they gave themselves in 2004, at a time when most of these institutions were teetering on collapse, and they are asking for taxpayers to help sustain them … that is the height of irresponsibility. It is shameful. And part of what we’re going to need is for folks on Wall Street who are asking for help to show some restraint, and show some discipline and sense of responsibility.
Goldman Sachs ‘graduates’ held extremely powerful positions in the American government before the economy began to visibly unwind, with Robert Rubin, Secretary of the Treasury during both Clinton administrations, and Joshua Bolton, President Bush’s chief of staff, leaping to mind immediately. Goldman graduates also serve as the heads of the New York Stock Exchange, the Canadian World Bank, the Italian World Bank, the New York Fed, etc. They hold prominent positions in much of the world of international finance.
Shortly before the economy began to visibly head south, Goldman Sachs got its foot in the door again when President Bush appointed as Treasury Secretary former Goldman Sachs CEO Hank Paulson. Once the economic crisis began to rear its ugly head, Paulson sat back passively in his secretary's chair and allowed two of America's largest investment banks/brokerage firms to fail: Bear Stearns and Lehman Brothers.
The Treasury Department, under Paulson, did not lift a finger to help either Bear or Lehman keep its head above water. (Footnote: Bear and Lehman were both competitors of Goldman Sachs – with Lehman posing its biggest competitive threat).
Fewer than twenty-four hours after Lehman Brothers bit the dust, Paulson made the decision to bail out AIG, the largest insurance conglomerate in the world, to the tune of $85 billion, for the sake of the American economy, which ‘would suffer irreparable damage’, should AIG fail. (Footnote: Goldman Sachs represented the biggest AIG payout -- $12.9 billion -- when AIG received its federal bailout billions.)
Hank Paulson then proceeded to appoint another Goldman Sachs crony, Neil Kashkari, to oversee the distribution of TARP money.
One of Kashkari’s first decisions was to change the status of Goldman Sachs to a bank holding company – a new status which would allow it to become the direct recipient of TARP money, in addition to FDIC funds, and money from the Fed discount window. Since Goldman Sachs was now registered as a bank holding company, they were no longer under SEC regulation, but Fed regulation. And who sat at the head of the Fed regulators to whom Sachs must answer? A man named Stephen Friedman, a former Chairman of Goldman Sachs.
Despite the fact that Mr. Friedman was now sitting in the overseer/regulator position at the Fed, responsible to monitor Goldman Sach’s dealings, he was not only a former chairman of GS, but also a current member of Goldman’s board of directors, and a major stockholder in the firm.
When complaints were issued about this blatant conflict of interest, current Treasury Secretary, Timothy Geitner, issued a temporary one-year waiver of the conflict-of-interest rule, allowing Friedman to continue to decide regulatory matters in GS’s behalf.
Mr. Friedman shortly thereafter purchased an additional 52,000 shares of Goldman Sachs.
Neil Kashkari was then replaced as overseer of TARP distributions by Gary Gensler, a former partner at Goldman Sachs. Gensler is now serving as the head of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, with his main charge being to regulate derivatives. When he was working for Goldman Sachs several years ago, Gensler worked tirelessly to deregulate derivatives.
Goldman Sachs has hired a new lobbyist, Michael Pease, who also serves as a Director of Government Affairs. Pease is replacing another Goldman Sachs lobbyist, Mark Patterson, who has received a promotion to serve as the Chief of Staff of our Treasury Secretary, Timothy Geitner.
(Footnote: During his campaign, our president promised that he would never have a registered lobbyist serve in his administration. Mark Patterson, a former Goldman Sachs lobbyist whose assignment was to lobby in order to prevent pay restrictions for Wall Street moneymakers, is now the number two man in the treasury department.)
Goldman Sachs recently spent $23 billion to purchase ten percent of the Chicago Climate Exchange, and $1 billion in carbon assets (including alternative energy projects), while their current and former employees (only some of whom are mentioned above) – now major government decision-makers – are endorsing mandatory limits on carbon emissions included in Cap and Trade legislation.
Think about the fact that Goldman Sachs was a recipient of bailout funds (read: your and my tax dollars), and that they are about to bestow upon their employees bonuses that average $770,000 per employee. Now think about the fact that most Americans’ nest eggs consist of retirement accounts directly linked to the American stock market. Then take a good look at the performance of the general markets (Dow and NASDAQ) as compared to the performance of Goldman Sachs, since our president took office (red=Goldman, green=NAS, Blue=Dow):
Man, these Goldman Sachs people are indescribably brilliant. Their company appears to know how to turn dirt into gold. Indeed, Goldman Sachs employees appear to outshine all other financial wizards in that they achieve, at an incredible proportion as compared to other financial wizards, major government positions, with indescribable autocratic decision-making powers.
Or could there be a kind of affirmative action hiring process going on here, in that these Sachs fellows affirm the leftist agenda currently being pushed down our throats, and they, in turn, invariably garner significant increased wealth and political power?
That leftist agenda currently being railroaded through Congress? It includes all manner of liberty-destroying, healthcare quality destroying, capitalism (especially small business) destroying, elitist power-grabbing initiatives … not to mention the fact that it is annihilating the carefully-accumulated nest eggs of tens of millions of hard-working Americans, and saddling their children and grandchildren with a monumentally burdensome debt that they can never hope to repay.
The inevitable result? We are fast allowing our republic to be transformed into a caste system made up of a political and financial elite, the working masses, and the parasites and benefactors who will keep the elite in office. This generation of working Americans, and those who follow, will find themselves slaves to the state – allowed to keep only that which the state allows them to retain, and forced to share the remainder with those the state wants to see prosper.
[Coming soon: (1) How Goldman Sachs manipulates the markets, and (2) the major role that Goldman Sachs played in the American economic debacle … of which we have yet to see the worst.]